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The Carrington – Tuesday $3 Pintxos

July 3, 2012

The Carrington
The Carrington
$3 Pork belly sliders at The Carrington

There’s no doubt that this is a tough time for restaurateurs: tighter purse strings, high rents, an incessant parade of new eateries and a flighty dining public only interested in flocking around the latest shiny new thing. Every week we’re hearing of new closures – and it seems like the trend is unlikely to end soon.

So how are restaurants luring in customers in such a difficult climate? Well… coupons and deep discounting are certainly one way to lure in potential new diners. But from my own experience as a greedy diner, I know my loyalty is only as good as whatever coupon website will give me the next best discount. And though I love a good half-price coupon as much as anyone, it hasn’t escaped my notice that four restaurants I’ve purchased coupons from in the past have since closed for business…

So if massive discounts miss the mark, what then? An alternative to chasing the high-volume injection of coupon customers might be found in the somewhat old fashioned method of drawing in locals and courting repeat business. Now I’m definitely no business expert, but I think a great example of this is what’s happening up at The Carrington in Surry Hills!

Thanks to the strong social media presence of both @carringtonhotel and @jamiecarrington – you may already be familiar with some of the many daily specials The Carrington dishes up each week. From Monday $10 Meatball night to Sunday Spanglish Roast Dinner, these daily specials are a fun way to offer novelty, variety and also the cheeky feeling of getting a good deal. It’s also a formula that seems to be working well at other venues backed by publicans, Jaime Wirth and James Miller: The Forresters, The Norfolk and The Abercrombie (try get a seat next Tuesday at The Norfolk’s $3 taco night and you’ll see what I mean.)

But this blog is about Tuesday $3 Pintxos night, so I better get on with it! Every Tuesday, Chef Jamie Thomas and his team at The Carrington hotel run $3 Pintxos night – crafting a specials menu of 5 different $3 pintxos which vary from week to week. I have to admit I still don’t know how to pronounce it without mumbling and looking off into the distance, but “Pintxos” is a Spanish/Basque term for a bar snack; often spiked with a toothpick. I especially love how Chef Jamie tweets out a twitpic of the night’s pintxos dishes.

The CarringtonThe Carrington
The Carrington’s Pinxtos night menu for 18/06/12, and a Paella Ball with crispy squid

It’s fun, it’s cheap (you can get a platter of one of each pintxos for a very unprincely sum of $15!), and best of all – it’s reliable. Just like Thursday-late-night-shopping and Tight-Arse-Tuesdays at the movies, Tuesday night at The Carrington is pintxos night (at least it is at the time I’m writing this haha – the future is uncertain after all)

The Carrington

The Carrington
One of each! For a grand total of $15

The changing rotation of pintxos is fun too, and a good incentive to come back. I’ve been twice in the past month alone… and I’m sure I’ll be back again soon. On the particular week we visit, the menu includes:

Rare roast beef with beetroot and horseradish – I like the zingy horseradish sauce with the sweet beetroot spread. And the beef is melt in the mouth.

The Carrington

The Carrington

The Sweet Potato & Smoked Cheddar Tortilla is like your best ever creamy potato bake, and it’s great fun biting through all the layers.

Paella Ball with Crispy Squid is probably my favourite of the night. The outside is just so crisp, with a surprising black squid ink paella inside.

The Carrington

The Carrington

Smoked Eggplant and Pomegranate tostada is lovely and indeed smokey, with little bursts of sweetness from the pomegranate seeds. But would have been even nicer if the bread was still crispy.

The Carrington

Pork Belly Slider, Pickled Cabbage looks glorious! The pickled cabbage slaw cuts through the rich pork belly slice. I’ve got a little piece of extra crackling pinned on top of my bun, but a few others at my table are a bit disappointed to be missing their pieces. If you’re someone who likes volume for your dollar though, this is definitely the one to get. For $3 it’s an absolute bargain.

Of course we can’t let the opportunity pass by the grab some dessert and drinks too. We grab a jug of the Single Mother cocktail ($25 a jug) – red wine, southern comfort, nutmeg, sugar topped with ginger beer. If ever a sangria tasted like Christmas this would be it. And my friends get a deconstructed Banana Split with Fried Milk to share. The fried milk comes out looking like fried cube-like donuts, complete with brown crust topped with sugar and cinnamon. But inside is like a milk pudding! Don’t ask me how it’s done, but it’s delicious (googling Leche Frita recipes gives me a bit of a hint though!).

The Carrington

Another friend orders a Creme Catalana – which is like a citrus flavoured creme brulee – a bit less exciting than fried milk but still tasty:

The Carrington
(Woops… dodgy focus)

The CarringtonThe Carrington
Hereby dubbed “Slider-face”

It’s all a lot of fun. Beautifully crafted pintxos for a bargain (seriously… that’s a lot of pintxos to serve in one night), good drinks, friendly service, cosy atmosphere that’s neither too loud nor too fussy. And they take bookings! (huzzah!) What’s not to love.

The Carrington

The Carrington
565 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Ph: 02 9360 4714

Bookings can be made through

Twitter: @carringtonhotel and @jamiecarrington

The Carrington Specialite: Beba y Cene on Urbanspoon

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2012 9:57 pm

    Love the Carrington…love! We’re going there for dinner on Friday night. Food with sticks stuck in to it is so much fun!

  2. Tina @ bitemeshowme permalink
    July 4, 2012 10:41 am

    I’ve heard so much about this place. Need to get myself here. It looks so fun 🙂

  3. July 4, 2012 1:39 pm

    it sounds and looks tasty! love your photos in the dark, they look awesome 🙂 it is sad that so many places are closing their doors.

  4. July 4, 2012 4:03 pm

    Oh I’ve heard such great things! The pintxos look fab! We had some at Naked For Satan and they’re SO addictive 😀

  5. July 4, 2012 4:27 pm

    whaaa ive heard so much about the tuesday pinxtos day! still havent got the opp to go yet 😦

  6. July 4, 2012 9:50 pm

    Man I really need to get myself here! I love how they’re all bite-sized ^^

  7. July 14, 2012 7:23 pm

    I’m going to preface this… I’ve been eating Spanish food all my life due to my father being from Spain.

    As far as Spanish food goes this is THE only good place in Sydney. I know that’s a big statement but it’s the truth. What passes for Spanish in Sydney is either uninspiring (the same old tapas from 40 yrs ago) or downright badly cooked (do the kitchen staff have any training???). The decline in quality of Spanish food in Sydney is such that myself and my father don’t eat at Spanish restaurants anymore and the last few unfortunate incidents we made a point of telling the management so.

    I’ve been to Naked For Satan, as far as the Pintxos go Naked For Satan has more variety on an average night. In terms of quality The Carrington is considerably better than Naked For Satan.

    I was at the Carrington last night and will be there again tonight it’s that good. Plenty of blogs have reviewed The Carrington so I won’t go into too much detail except to say that the sangria’s are original and NOT watered down like everywhere else, try the Lolita Likes It – Amazing! Foodwise, I highly recommend the morcilla stuffed squid, prawn and chorizo sandwich, smoked octopus and fennel salad though you can’t really go wrong with anything at this place. I also recommend the Tomato bread with Iberico ham pintxo, but I highly recommend you rub the tomato juices into the bread and leave the tomato aside and eat the bread with the iberico. This is how it’s done in Cataluna in Spain (Pan a la Catalana) and I believe the chef is making a big error (the only one he’s made) by having the tomato and iberico together because the tomato overpowers the iberico flavour. Iberico ham costs $300/kg (yes, 3-0-0) so you definitely want to taste it.

    The head chef is English and extremely talented – my dad refuses to believe an Englishman can cook Spanish – and his kitchen staff is trained very well.

    Ambience wise its just a jumping place to be. It’s busy and has the right cool vibe as you would expect in Bourke St Surry Hills.

  8. September 5, 2012 10:06 am

    Omg this looks ridiculously delicious. Ahh I want to go right now!! Thanks for a great review =D

  9. June 22, 2013 4:58 am

    I thought you should know I’m in awe of your knowledge on this subject. Your information within this article is incredible and it reflects some of my same views.


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